Teachers vs teachers in row over revision of NCERT books

"There is no merit in the hue and cry of these 'academicians'," said Professor M Jagadesh Kumar, the former Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)

NEW DELHI: After a group of academicians distanced themselves from the NCERT textbooks and sought their names to be dropped, more than 100 educators defended the revised chapters vigorously.

They slammed the "narrow and self-interested" academics for maligning NCERT.

Joining this group, which included professors and vice-chancellors of India's top institutes, including JNU, IITs, IIMs and Central Universities was University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar who claimed that the objective behind the "grumbling of protesting academicians was non-academic."

"There is no merit in the hue and cry of these 'academicians'," said Professor M Jagadesh Kumar, the former Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

"The current textbook modifications are not the only ones carried out. NCERT has been revising textbooks from time to time in the past too. NCERT is fully justified in rationalising its textbook contents," he said in a series of tweets.

He further added that the attack by some "academicians" on NCERT revising textbooks are "unwarranted."

Calling the academicians, including Yogendra Yadav, who wrote to NCERT on dropping their names from the political science textbooks as "arrogant and self-interested", the 106 academicians said, "Through misinformation, rumours, and false allegations, they want to derail the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) and disrupt the updation of NCERT textbooks."

"Their demand that students continue to study from 17-year-old textbooks rather than updated textbooks in sync with contemporary developments and pedagogical advancement reveals intellectual arrogance," they said.

"In their quest to further their political agenda, they are ready to endanger the future of crores of children across the country," said the academicians who defended NCERT. These academicians included JNU Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, prof Dhananjay Singh, member secretary, Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and Prof E Suresh Kumar, VC, English and Foreign Language University.

"While students are eagerly awaiting updated textbooks, these academicians are continuing to create hurdles and derail the entire process," they said.

The letter came a day after 33 academicians had written to NCERT seeking the dropping of their names from the textbooks saying their collective creative effort was in jeopardy.

The move came a week after political scientists Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar wrote to the NCERT distancing from these books.

Dropping several topics and portions from NCERT textbooks last month triggered a controversy. While the changes made during the rationalisation exercise - undertaken last year due to Covid-19 - were notified, some controversial deletions, like portions on Mahatma Gandhi, RSS and Nathuram Godse, were not mentioned.

Those supporting the NCERT revisions claimed that academics opposing the move are trying to capture media attention over a non-issue.

They claimed that the school curriculum had not been updated for over two decades. The objective of the exercise was to reduce the load on students who have already faced disruption in their education because of Covid-19.

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